Eryk Anders is preparing to face former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Lyoto Machida in the main event of UFC Fight Night Belem.
The middleweight is also a former NCAA Football player with the University Of Alabama and he calls the sport of football more dangerous than MMA, especially as it pertains to collisions.
"I enjoy and love MMA much more than I ever did football, but at the same time it’s also kind of part of the reason why I’m moving up so fast,” Anders said on The MMA Hour. “I already had the built-in fan base when I got into the sport. A lot of supporting fans all over the country that love the Tide. Football has been good to me. Football is way more dangerous than MMA. Even if you get knocked out in MMA, it’s just one time, then you get up, you take a couple of months off, let your body heal. In football, you may not get knocked out, but you’re constantly getting hit, getting hit, getting hit, especially if you play that D line, linebacker, running back, offensive line position. Every play it’s a collision and your body doesn’t appreciate that. You see guys at 30 years old, their career is done just because of all the hits, all the contact. Just look at the shelf life of the average NFL player, three to five years if you’re lucky; MMA guys, they can play for much longer as long as they’re not one of those guys who play with their hands down and just chuck for the fences and take it to give it.”
Anders did try to continue his football career with the National Football League (NFL) and Canadian Football League (CFL), but no teams from those leagues signed him.
One reason that Anders claims football is worse than MMA is because of the physical toll the fighters former sport took on his body.
“Football, it’s a collision every play. Car wreck, every play. But now my body, I don’t have to lift all those weights and eat all that food, it’s kind of the opposite. When I was in college, my back always hurt, my knees always hurt from bearing all the weight and hits and whatnot, but now that I’m doing MMA, my body’s never felt better. I’m walking around at more of a natural weight, my diet’s much better and the way we train I can go forever if I wanted to,” says Anders.
UFC Fight Night Belem takes place on Saturday, February 3 from the Manguerinho Gymnasium in Belem, Brazil with Lyoto Machida and Eryk Anders headlining. Fightful is providing live coverage of the event, which airs live on Fox Sports 1.